Jared Loughner Charges: Feds to Have First Crack at Tucson Shooting Suspect; State Charges to Follow

The U.S. Attorney's Office and the Pima County Attorney's Office issued a joint statement this morning outlining how prosecuting Tucson shooting suspect Jared Loughner will go forward.

Loughner, who authorities believe is the lone suspect in the January 8, shooting rampage at a Tucson grocery store, currently faces a three-count indictment in Arizona's federal district court for the attempted murders of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and two of her aides.

With six people dead, and 13 others wounded in the attack, Loughner is facing a slew of other charges that have not yet been filed. Federal statute requires the suspension of all state or local prosecutions while the federal case is pending, so state charges will be put on hold until the feds finish their case.

Subsequently, Loughner will remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service as his case moves through the federal court system.

After that, it's the state's turn.

From the joint statement:

Our offices have jointly agreed to a process that Loughner will first be prosecuted on federal charges by the U.S. Attorney's Office. As required by the statute, once those charges have been fully prosecuted through the federal court system, Arizona state charges will be prosecuted by the Pima County Attorney's Office.  These cases will be tried in sequence and will ensure that all rights of the victims and their families are vindicated.

Meanwhile, Giffords continues to make a miraculous recovery after the shooting.  
In remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington on Thursday, her husband, Mark Kelly, said Giffords "gets a little bit better" every day, noting doctors tell him her progress is "a great sign."

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James King
Contact: James King